With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War upon us, many libraries, including this one, have digitized diaries, letters, and other documents that bring the realities of the war–for both soldiers and civilians–to light in a way that our school textbooks did not. We now can know more about what drew men to fight for one side or the other, how they experienced the routines of military life, and how they felt about what they saw and did in battle. Life on the home front also can come alive in these documents, showing us that the war changed the lives of people who never left their communities.
Terrell Garren covers this subject matter using fiction–fiction based on the experiences of his great grandparents. Joseph Youngblood’s military service took him from Henderson County to battlefields across the South and as far as a Union hospital in Indianapolis. Delia Russell stayed on her family’s farm, but the war came to her in a devastating way. Joseph and Delia’s stories are at the heart of the novel, but they are surrounded by a community of people–good and bad–and better known historical figures whose actions altered the lives of Mr. Garren’s ancestors. Mr. Garren does a good job of portraying the mixture of political allegiances in the western part of this state, the chaos at the end of the war, and the way that actions from those war years could reverberate through the decades.
The Secret of War is the fruit of many years of research. Readers who are drawn to historical topics will be delighted by the historical photographs that Mr. Garren has included and by the index of names, places, events, and military units at the end of the book.
Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.